Foo Fighters at Citi Field / Afterword
The Foo Fighters took Citi Field Wednesday night, the first show of a two night stand in Queens for the NYC leg of their once Sonic Highways, now Broken Leg World Tour.
Opening for the Foo were Brighton born British garage rockers, Royal Blood, who many of my friends cautioned me, were “awesome.” I did a bit of research, and discovered a Warner Brother’s label, which suggested that a bunch of others felt the same way. They took the stage promptly at the show’s posted 7pm start time, and I took my seat about fifteen minutes in. Bummer. The highly lauded bass and drum rock duo was bad. Just bad. It was difficult to distinguish between songs thanks to gratuitous distortion in transitions, which quickly became tired and underwhelming and actually flattened out the band’s already monotone sound. Not to knock the band as musicians – from my layman’s vantage, both seem technically sound and properly fed on a rock and roll diet but I suppose the garage rock duo of today cannot exist with immediate comparison to both The White Stripes and The Black Keys, both of whom rely on a guitar, not a bass to accompany their kit , and both of whom are, in this writer’s opinion, not in the same atmosphere. I was happy to see them wrap their set, for some sonic reprieve but also for their final song choice, a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” Still, Sabbath or no, good riddance.
During the changeover, The Foo Figher’s crew ran excerpts from the band’s recent HBO Series, Sonic Highways, which was a nice appetizer for the coming show, and a welcome focal point for antsy rockers who otherwise shuffled, smoked, and made beer runs to kill the time.
A few minutes after 8:30, front man Grohl’s signature banshee scream from behind the scrim brought the thirty something thousand fans and the house lights to immediate attention. “We’ve got a long fucking night ahead of us,” the voice of Grohl promised as the band emerged, and tore into back-to-back fan favorites “Everlong” and “Monkey Wrench” to start the show. Around me, elation – fan mania swept Citi Field and I was immediately certain I’d chosen the right place to be this Wednesday night.
The first half of the show offered a buffet of hits before the band slowed it down for a juicy roll call that offered snippets of Van Halen, Queen, and The Ramones. The audience was sold, an army of devotees with rock horns in the air and beers in hand. So far, so good. Grohl was positively thrashing around in this rock throne, making good on his promise to “give it to you harder sitting on this fucking chair than I ever did on my feet.”
As the show rolled on Grohl continued to banter with the audience along the theme of appreciation for twenty years of support, jokes about how far away the fans were in the upper deck, a continual mockery of his broken leg situation, and a love of the band, the crew, and his predecessors, the last of which he made good on by covering five songs in the second half of the show, dedicating a cover of Petty’s “Breakdown” to former Dain Bramage band mate and singer, Chris Page. He even offered up an extremely rare Foo Fighters encore, which he swore up and down the band “never does,” a rule he was willing to forego last night with Red Hot Chili Pepper’s drummer Chad Smith in the house, who somewhat sheepishly took the sticks as the band covered Faces’ “Stay With Me” and Foo drummer Taylor Hawkins wailed out the chorus.
It was truly a great show, the band played for close to three hours and I left feeling that sublime tingle of afterglow that we chase at shows like these and are, from time to time, granted. Highlights for me, aside from the encore, were an acoustic rendition of “Times Like These,” for which Grohl left the throne and crutched down the center stage thrust to stand amongst the people, and “Best of You,” the final song of the set, where Grohl laid down a dirty slow blues bridge and walked it around for a bit, dismissing my only lingering doubt about the band: man can play guitar. “Everyday of my life people ask me, what ever happened to rock and roll,” Dave mused, then grinned and said “and I’m like, whaddya mean?” As I sailed back to Manhattan on a packed 7 train, I smiled too. Whaddya mean.July 16, 2015 Foreword/Afterwork David Burke Contributing Writer